Last week, ProFromGo had the good fortune to present at the 2014 PRLA Fall Meeting in Lancaster, PA. There, we were a part of the "Managing Your Online Reputation" panel where we, along with a couple other experts, gave restaurants and hotels advice on how to improve their online reputation.
We decided that as a courtesy to all those who attended (or those who weren't able to), we would post a quick recap of all the information that was presented.
Laura Vernola: Sigel & Associates Consultants
Ben Lawrence: The Cornell Hotel School of Administration
Chris Vendilli: ProFromGo Internet Marketing
Takeaways From The Reputation Management Panel
- Negative reviews are something that can't be simply ignored anymore. When dealing with a negative review, you need to write a public response that states you will respond privately.
- Don't just respond to only negative reviews, answer positive ones as well! This increases your consumers' interaction with your brand and shows potential customers that you actually care.
- When responding to a negative review, take emotion out of the equation completely. Give yourself 24 hours to cool down before responding.
- If you need help (or don't feel like!) responding to reviews online, teach student interns best practices for responses and hire them to write on your behalf.
- If you're worried about the quick turnaround of interns, make it a part of each intern's job to train the next one so you don't have to invest the time into training a new one over and over again.
- The impact of reviews severely lessons upon scale. One negative review won't seem so scathing amidst a slew of positive reviews. Conversely, one negative review can do much more damage if there's only a small number of positive reviews to contest it.
- When it comes to hotels, reviews effect Economy and Independent hotels the most. This is because the experience customers receive when they visit these hotels varies much more than other hotel types so reviews serve as a heavy anchor to eliminate a bad experience.
- Business travelers tend to rate more harshly than just casual leisure travelers.
- You should look at competitor's reviews and compare them to your customers' actual experiences.
- Don't simply chalk up negative reviews to a one-time bad experience. Use them as a tool to fix up a problem that may really exist in your business.
- There are a few good tools out there that allow you track, manage and respond to reviews from one centralized platform. Do a few Google searches for "Online Review Software" to see which one works best for you.
- Google My Business is quickly becoming a new review platform that all restaurants and hotels should be keeping an eye on. Many of these reviews are embedded in Google's search results and can be accessed by simply searching your name brand.
- If you claim and verify your Google My Business listing, you can have access to all reviews done through Google and can manage and respond to all incoming reviews with ease.
We'd like to thank the members of the PRLA for inviting us down and letting us nerd out with our reputation management advice. We hope to see you all next year!